Prime minister Narendra Modi rescheduled his Japan visit to begin his tour from Kyoto. He did this to learn more about the city's experiences of combining heritage with modernity to emulate the practices in the holy city of Varanasi, the constituency he represents in the Lok Sabha.
Modi's first bilateral visit outside the Indian subcontinent was to begin from August 31, upon his arrival to Tokyo. But on his insistence to visit Kyoto, the city he had visited in the past as Gujarat chief minister, the ministry of external affairs re-negotiated his plan. Modi's counterpart Shinzo Abe has agreed to arrive in Kyoto, to receive him. Kyoto, the Japan's heritage city, which symbolises Buddhism, is a magnificent example of synthesising cultural heritage and modernisation, which dovetails the prime minister's ideas of developing the city of Varanasi. The governor and mayor of this city will give a detailed presentation to Modi and apprise him of how they have preserved the city's ancient legacy, environment-friendly approach and innovation.
During his visit from August 30 to September 3, the prime minister will also call on Emperor Akihito and hold an annual summit meeting with his counterpart Shinzo Abe. He will bolster bilateral ties in key areas of civil nuclear cooperation, security, defence and trade.
India is also pushing for an agreement with Japan on the lines of a 2008 deal with the United States under which India was allowed to import US nuclear fuel and technology without giving up its military nuclear programme. But Japan has been asking for guarantees not to conduct nuclear tests and more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities to ensure that spent fuel is not diverted to make bombs. The major focus during Modi's visit would remain to invite Japanese investment and expertise to build infrastructure in India particularly the smart cities and to boost trade between the two countries.